HAZARD – Saying he plans to open more doors of opportunity for Kentucky’s citizens, University of Kentucky President Dr. Eli Capilouto addressed a group of UK alumni Thursday at Hazard Community and Technical College.
Capilouto was speaking at the Quicksand Area Summer Event for graduates of UK’s College of Agriculture and School of Human Environmental Sciences, and outlined some of his plans for the university, as well as some of the challenges the school faces.
The UK trustees in May approved a 6 percent tuition increase for the upcoming school year, but Capilouto said his current plans are to cap any additional increases at 3 percent, coupled with a five percent salary plan that he says will help retain some of the university’s top faculty. But it’s also a move that will take some adjustments, considering the ongoing state of the economy.
“That will involve making some tough choices on our campus, but it is a way to re-balance our budget with an eye on the future,” he said.
Upgrading the school’s aging student living quarters and maintaining research facilities will also be at the top of the agenda during the coming months, Capilouto added.
The University of Kentucky has also maintained a presence here in the eastern region of the state, with the project at Robinson Forest in Perry and Breathitt counties, as well as the UK Center for Excellence in Rural Health in Hazard. Capilouto was last in Perry County to celebrate the center’s 20th anniversary, and praised the numerous partnerships the university has been able to forge with local medical facilities that have brought additional access to health care to the region.
“I like to say that Kentuckians can get all the care they need in their own back yard,” he said.
He added, however, that with current budget limitations he doesn’t see the university expanding its academic programs in the region any time soon. He noted that there are UK programs already being offered in the region, but the community and technical college system does a good job of preparing student for their first two years.
“Some of the budget constraints we’re under, it’s everything we can do to do well with everything that’s on our plate,” he said.
Capilouto was also scheduled to visit the Robinson Forest on Friday.